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Getting Started With Google+ Pages for Small Businesses

December 8, 2011 · 13 comments

in Internet Marketing, Social Media

Now that Google+ Pages for businesses have arrived, you may be wondering, “why does my business need to get involved with yet another social platform?” I can give the short answer in one word — ubiquity. Google is everywhere, and Google+ is tightly integrated into the company’s most commonly used offerings. There’s search, of course, with over a billion searches a day on Google by hundreds of millions of different people. There’s also email, online documents, photo sharing, calendars, and the list goes on. Google+ is integrated across all these services, as well as in Google search results. Google+ is far more easily searchable than Facebook pages, and will improve your search visibility right off the bat.

This article describes the core features of Google Pages for small businesses, and provides a step-by-step guide to help you get started.

What’s a Google Page?

It’s basically a free way to build a Web presence for your business. It’s a bio, a communications channel, a means of getting feedback from customers, and much more.

Getting Started

There is a world of difference between a person on Google+ and a brand or business. People have Profiles, brands have Pages. Since Pages are geared specifically toward brands and organizations, there are some key differences that we will note as we go through the process of setting up a Page.

So, let’s get you set up!

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to setting up your Page. The process is really quite simple.

Register for a Google Account

Register for a free Google account or, if you already use Gmail or another Google service, you can use that same login instead. Every Google+ Page must be linked to a Google account. Be thoughtful as you do this, as there is no known way to unlink a Page from the Profile that created it.

Create Your Page

Go to the Google+ Pages for businesses page. Choose the relevant category. There are five to choose from: Local Business or Place; Product or Brand; Company, Institution or Organization; Arts, Entertainment or Sports; and Other. (Most of you will probably be choosing “Local Business or Place.”)

Identify your business. Type your business phone number into the box presented. If Google has already indexed your business info, it should come right up. If not, then you can just enter the address and other info right there. One good thing for “brick-and-mortar” businesses is that once you’ve entered your address, your company listing will appear on the map in the right-hand column.

Add a tagline and photo. Pages and Profiles without photos are often dismissed by readers as amateurish or not worth the time.

Circles

Circles are where the true power of Google+ shines through. Much like followers on Twitter or friends on Facebook, they allow you to sort people into targeted groups. When a new page is created, it automatically has Circles for “Customers,” “VIPs,” and “Team Members.” You can add as many others as needed or rename the existing ones until things are set up the way you want them. This way you can make posts that are only seen by each group, for instance, a special deal only for VIP customers.

By targeting your posts to these Circles or Public you can communicate better and offer more value than by simply broadcasting. Keep in mind that you cannot add people to your Page’s Circles until they have either added the Page or mentioned it online.

Unlike Profiles, Pages cannot share to “Extended circles.”

Hangouts

Hangouts allow you to chat live with other users using a webcam. Currently, a total of 10 people can participate in a Hangout simultaneously. Additionally, you can collaborate on Google Docs in real-time, share videos and pictures, and use a virtual whiteboard. The business uses are obvious.

Whether connecting directly with customers or expanding the ways in which your team can collaborate, Hangouts are a powerful tool. In my opinion, one of the most exciting ones on Google+.

Take note, Pages can’t hangout on a mobile device.

The “+1″ Button

Unlike Profiles, Pages automatically have the “+1″ button. Additionally, Pages cannot “+1″ other Pages or any other content on the Web.

Direct Connect

Here is a really handy reason to have a Google+ Page. Direct Connect is a new feature in Google’s search engine that allows you to find a brand’s Google+ Page simple by typing “+” before your search terms. It’s a shortcut the size of the Autobahn straight to your business’ Page.

Now that we’ve discussed the value of Google + Pages for small businesses, go ahead and get your business set up on Google+. We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

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George Williams is a professional tech and social media journalist for firstSTREET, the leading provider of unique gifts for seniors and beyond, such as the WOW! Computer, an easy-to-use, touchscreen computer for seniors that takes the stress and hassle out of computing.

George has written 1 awesome articles for us at Opportunities Planet

Twitter: @firststreetnews | Blog → firstSTREET Blog

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Warren December 9, 2011 at 8:59 pm

There are getting to be too many places I need to hang out, and monitor. Between my email, comments section, Twitter profile, Fan page, Facebook page, Google page, I am getting my attention stretched to the max.
Warren recently posted..The Simple Ways To Building A Niche Website Empire!My Profile

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Srinivas Reddy December 10, 2011 at 2:52 am

I have yet to setup my Google+ stuff, but that’s next on my list. Thanks for the info, George. As Warren commented here, far too many things are screaming for our attention these days. So I suppose we need to pick our battles carefully. :) That said, I can’t imagine why any of us bloggers would ignore Google+ in a world dominated by Google.
Srinivas Reddy recently posted..Child Or Baby Not EatingMy Profile

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Sanjeev December 10, 2011 at 10:22 am

I have just setup a goole plus page for Makewebworld and I would say yes it adds extra visibility. Google has made the process very simple (almost just a 5 min task to do that).
Sanjeev recently posted..4 Tips for Building Traffic for Your BlogMy Profile

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Viviana December 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Hi Kostas, another great online platform to promote your business. Thanks for sharing Google+. I’ll take a look at this possibility.
Viviana recently posted..Attracting Success with Power of VisualizationMy Profile

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Tosin December 10, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Hi George,

While there are several people who say that we dont need another social media platform in the league of facebook, and I tend to agree, I however think that it does not hurt to put these tips to mind.

I think the biggest advantage of google plus pages is the visibility that it provides in the search engines, and that’s huge.

I however would love to see more interaction in the google plus social media as a whole. Seems like folks are gradually returning back to facebook. That’s just my observation anyway.

Thanks for these tips.

Tosin

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George "Loki" Williams December 12, 2011 at 5:07 am

Sorry it took so long to respond, I’ve been in the middle of a cross country move.

There are always more social media platforms popping up, the trick is not to be on all of them but rather to be on the one’s your target audience uses so as to engage them. In this respect I think G+ has a lot going for it since everybody uses Google, even if only for search.

My objective is simply to provide some tips and assistance for those getting started. If I’ve been able to help anyone I consider it time well spent.

Thanks for reading and for joining the conversation!
George “Loki” Williams recently posted..RelocationMy Profile

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Catarina December 13, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Already have one, but honestly think Google + business pages are about as lively as a morgue. But the same can be said about Google + as a whole. Lot’s of people want to connect to me on a daily basis but Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter are far better social media platforms.

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Joyce December 13, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I have not been able to use google + successful but i will try and start working with it now that you have shared the steps needed to get started. I can’t believe it’s that simple.

Thanks for sharing.

Reply

Alan Cheng December 14, 2011 at 9:41 am

I do love reading about Google +. Creating a Google + page for my business has been on my agenda for a few weeks now.

Your article has given me that extra motivation :-)

One of the things I want to test is the SEO traffic with a Google + Page. I gather that it should do better in SEO than Facebook since it’s Google’s own baby.
Alan Cheng recently posted..How To Design A Website That Kills TrafficMy Profile

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George "Loki" Williams December 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I would say that Google + in general has proven to provide a marked increase in traffic for several of my websites, I predict pages will do the same. Of course, like any social media platform you get out what you put in.

Catarina is only one of the people who has called it a dead platform, I would say that it’s more a matter of it not being a platform she has found engagement on.

It’s a lot like the ongoing proliferation of social platforms that has been brought up in this thread several times. You don’t need to get on every platform, what you need to do is find the ones where your chosen audience are. Sometimes its Twitter, sometimes its forums, sometimes it’s Facebook.

As Google+ grows into maturity I predict it will be one of the most useful platforms in this regard due to it’s ubiquity. Everyone who uses Google products will be seeing more and more Plus integration, expanding the user base.
George “Loki” Williams recently posted..RelocationMy Profile

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Sharon December 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm

I have got a g+ page and profile but am still really a bit fuzzy. Thanks for the tips.

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